Robert Kirkman’s smash hit The Walking Dead is perhaps the biggest thing in comics at the moment which carries with it an intimidating cachet. The Walking Dead is a never ending story about survivors wandering the wastes of an apocalyptic, zombie infested America. The series is already 100 issues deep which is a daunting reading task to just pick up a read from the beginning. That being said, at the risk of sounding hypocritical due to the fact that I personally avoided this book like the plague for about a good year now, after having read the beginning I cannot recommend it enough.
The story follows small town sheriff Rick Grimes, who, after awakening from a coma finds himself suddenly in the middle of a country wide zombie epidemic. The Walking Dead is a story about survival and dealing with adversity. One of the beauties of the story is that the adversities in question range from the epic scale of a possible end of humanity as we know it, to the human scale problems of basic sexual desire. The dealing with minutia is one of the more compelling elements of the book inthat despite the questionable importance of the smaller things they are the things about which people concern themselves, they are things which matter to us. Kirkman’s achievement in this epic is that it is realistic. No superheroes, no super powers, no deus ex machina. Characters kill in cold blood to survive, the heroes will lose at times, and some good guys will die, not in a blaze of glory, but in futile tragedy.
Writer Robert Kirkman does what he does best from the onset; he weaves a simple yet deep and compelling story, full of interesting and well developed characters. His occasional problem from other series of pacing a story out properly does not rear its head here. The story takes its time in moving the story along but does not drag. The one possible complaint about this book is its art. The first half entitled Days Gone Bye, features the incredibly appropriate art of Tony Moore, who’s lose organic style compliments the story very well. The second half entitled, Miles Behind Us, is drawn by Charlie Adlard, who uses a darker, more shaded style. Adlard’s style not bad at all, in fact at times it fits the atmosphere better then Moore’s art, but its more inconsistent in comparison to Moore’s. It is a minor point but some comic fans will appreciate the differences.
This books gets a high recommendation but comes with a warning. Like other Kirkman books such as Invincible or The Amazing Wolfman, you may find self buying the rest of the entire series after the first book. The Walking Dead is so well done, it has a similar effec. In a nutshell, this book will make you want more, in the best way possible.